Meir Ben Shahar
»A Future and a Hope« in Babylonia: Three Sayings of Rav as a Diasporan Manifesto
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The Jewish Diaspora is often viewed as the paradigm of exile, which implies longing for a place from which a people has been forcibly expelled. This article interprets three sayings by Rav in the Babylonian Talmud as reflecting an alternative ideology, in which living outside the Holy Land is not seen as regrettable or shameful, for God is revealed through the Jewish people's observance of the Torah and the commandments everywhere. Although the relevant sugya in BT Ta'anit 29a-b opens with catastrophe – the destruction of the Temple – Rav's three sayings here exude optimism, implying that a good life is attainable wherever Jews reside. Every moment of Torah study is the realization of the »future and hope« promised by the prophet Jeremiah.